Finally Indian Government separates Medical Devices and Pharmaceuticals

A good sign for Device users in India. The Indian Government is finally woken up to the fact that devices and drugs are different. As a result of this waking up and coming to terms with reality, they are planning to separate the two replacing the provisions under the Drugs and cosmetics amendment Bill tabled in 2007.

This may come as a big source of relief to Indian Device users and may cause additional cost for the domestic manufacturers who would have t now meet specific norms on device safety.

Recently I had the chance to visit the premises of Underwriters laboratories(UL) and talk to Karthik Venkataraman, a manager with UL  who has been working with many Multinational Device manufacturers. UL is the market leader when it comes to Medical Device testing. Karthik did allude to the fact that domestic requirements are not very stringent and as a result Indian domestic players do not necessarily spend a lot of time testing the devices.

According to the government, the bill would  provide for monitoring and setting standards for medical devices. When passed, it will help strengthen the domestic manufacturing industry and could make medical devices more accessible and affordable to the people at large in the country.

In addition the Government  also plans to strengthen the its regulatory body – Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation – by providing more skilled manpower and better infrastructure in its offices across the country.

So finally Devices in India would get their own day under the sun, will it raise the standards in India, only time shall tell.




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Indian Startups: Shifting the paradigm in medical technology Part 2


In continuation to the previous post that talked about how India based organizations are making their mark in the medical technology field, here are few of the medical technology Indian companies that are funded by venture capitalists and whose products are gaining widespread application in emerging countries such as India and also knocking on the doors of developed markets such as US and Europe.

Medical Devices:

The robot products developed by Perfint Technologies are used for ablation, drug delivery and biopsy. These affordable and unique devices are sold under the brand name ‘Robio’ in SE Asian countries, Europe and Latin America. This four year old start-up is now working to develop a new robot product, Maxio, which will make complex life-saving procedures much easier to perform with high success rate and with the introduction of which Perfint plans to enter markets like the US, Japan and Korea. The price of these devices ranges from $150,000 to $300,000. With $17 million from various venture capitalist and current revenue hovering around Rs. 50 crore, Perfint aims to ten-fold the revenue to around Rs. 550 crore in the next four years.

Nano Drugs:

Invictus Oncology, a Delhi-based start-up is developing a drug smaller than one-thousandth the diameter of a human hair, which immerses into the tumor, shrinks it by cutting off blood supply and continues to sit on the tumor till it dies. The brain behind this technology built it in his lab in Harvard Medical School and has been further developed by a group of scientists who relocated to India.


Core Diagnostics, a Gurgaon-based start-up, offers specialized tests in cardiology, endocrinology and oncology which are unavailable in India. Patients used to send the test samples overseas and the results came back in around three weeks costing about Rs. 20,000 to Rs. 1 lakh. Core diagnostics, backed by Artiman Ventures, aims to make these tests available in India for as low as Rs. 4000 to Rs. 50,000 with results in just 48 hours. This startup has tied with 50 specialists and physicians working in US to train their Indian counterparts.

Computational Imaging:

Tonbo Imaging, a startup in Bangalore, has developed an imaging technology that has also made inroads into the defense technology such as drones of the armed forces around the globe. Artiman Ventures have infused Rs. 34 crore in this startup that will be utilized for R&D enhancement and team expansion in India, the U.S and Israel.

Personalized Cancer Therapy:

Mitra Biotech, a Bangalore-based bio-technology organization, has developed the ‘OncoprintR’ technology that allows doctors to differentiate with great deal of accuracy the drugs which will work on a cancer patient from the drugs which will have no clinical effect. This technology saves the patient from undergoing a series of drug regimes that often results in side-effects and associated complications. Mitra has struck a deal with several leading hospitals in India and abroad for delivering personalizes treatment options. Imagine what changes this technology can bring in a country like India where nearly 6 lakhs Indians die of cancer every year where 70% of them belong to the age group 30-70yrs.

Stem Cells:

Stempeutics Research, a startup focused on stem cells in alliance with Vignani technologies, a niche engineering services company is developing ‘Stempeuron’ an automated, point-of-care medical device for isolation of stem cells from humans. The device helps to extract good stem cells out of the tissue quickly whereas the current procedure of bringing fat tissues to the lab and processing it for isolating stem cells is time consuming, cumbrous and has a poor viability rate. The alliance is working to reduce the cost of their device to below Rs. 20 lakh that is much below the cost of such devices in US which is around Rs. 1 crore.

India ranks 4th in global general cosmetic surgery market, which is valued at $40. Billion in 2013, with 850,000 cosmetic surgeries a year compared to US, ranked 1st with 3,100,000 such procedures. Indian firms such as Stempeutics and Vignani which are still in the research and development phase are leaving no stone unturned to make a mark in such markets and increase their presence across the globe. This new crop of go-getters and innovative startups are here to make a difference and bring India on the medical technology globe in the years to come. Watch out for the rise of similar Indian organizations and make their mark.


By Dr Sumeet Kad

Sumeet KadMarketing and Business strategy professional with considerable experience in marketing and consulting for MNCs and Fortune 500 clients in the Healthcare and Life Sciences industry  Dr. Sumeet is an avid reader, social media evangelist and has authored various blogs on marketing, branding, healthcare and life-sciences and social media.

He also manages his blog The New Age Marketing Blog. Find him at hisLinkedin Page and follow him at @sumeetkad.

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How Indian start-ups are making the mark in the global healthcare technology space?


(Source: Venture Intelligence)

At the ICU of one of the largest hospital in Victoria, Australia a robot helps the oncologist treat cancer by precisely inserting a needle in the affected area to burn and freeze the patient’s tumor, a technique better known as ablation. The robot had a strip under his right arm mentioning “Made in India” which amazed the Australian oncologist. Yes, he read those words correctly and this is just an example of how India based organizations/start-ups are changing the face of healthcare and leaving their footprints across the globe. This state of the art, next-generation robotic healthcare device has been developed by Chennai-based start-up, Perfint Healthcare. This device provides clinicians the luxury to perform complex procedures with high degree of accuracy, minimal invasion and less side effects.

In 2012, the healthcare industry enjoyed great private equity and venture capital investments and trend is likely to continue for coming years. These funds play a pivotal role in backing up start-ups such as Perfint which are engaged in developing such cutting-edge technologies in areas such as medical devices, stem cells and next generation drugs. These breakthrough innovations are rapidly transforming India into a serious contributor to the medical technology market.

Aarin Capital, a private equity $100 million fund, is a front runner that invests in Life Sciences start-ups.  Artiman, another US based venture capital firm, which manages a global corpus of $750 million (about Rs. 4100 crore) is adopting ‘deal creation’ model to find potential start-ups with proof of concept for their ideas. This model, where the capitalists throws a bait of idea and wait for interested candidates with a unique business model to make that idea viable, is doing very well in US and now is being adopted in India as well.  Artiman, replicating this model, has done 3 major investments in healthcare sector in India across fields such as drug discovery, cancer diagnostics and imaging technology.

In 2011, for Indian start-ups, there were 38 deals worth $421 million in the Healthcare and Life Sciences sector whereas in 2012 this sector attracted $1.2 billion worth of investments from private equity and venture capital players. This emerging confidence of the investors is based on the fact that over the last decade more number of Indians are returning from the west, driving this surge of new startups in the Healthcare and Life Sciences sector. Also, the supply is on the lower side and the demand continues to rise.

The biggest challenge for such innovation-driven startups is to follow-on capital as it is still very risky for an investor to infuse money into such startups. However, these startups with their science and innovative products are also aiming to attract capital from global pharmaceutical companies.  Stempeutics Research, a Bangalore based organization, achieved capital investment from Cipla for their research on stem cells.

Do you believe that Indian brain backed by appropriate money power can make a difference in the healthcare sector?  What are major challenges that Indian startups can face in achieving this and how to overcome those?

By Dr Sumeet Kad


About the author

Sumeet Kad

Marketing and Business strategy professional with considerable experience in marketing and consulting for MNCs and Fortune 500 clients in the Healthcare and Life Sciences industry  Dr. Sumeet is an avid reader, social media evangelist and has authored various blogs on marketing, branding, healthcare and life-sciences and social media.

He also manages his blog The New Age Marketing Blog. Find him at his Linkedin Page and follow him at @sumeetkad.